Building on the success of the inaugural Pave The Way To Gular Festival in 2018, the festival returned for 2019 focussing on transforming the town’s main street. A strip of historic shops received a facelift and a fresh coat of paint. Local artists joined the team to create permanent installations in the windows, including ceramic, metal, wire and paper sculptures. The artists included Alison Dent, Sam Wykes, Brian Campbell, Anna Kaineder and Ana Robson.

Pops of colour and an innovative sculptural window gallery has bought life and energy to the main street making the centre of town an attractive space as well as purposeful.

Gulargambone was in the midst of enduring dry conditions. Pave The Way to Gular festival is an important cultural and economic project for the town, as well as being an important source of town pride. The project also provides a sense of community, is a source of local employment as well as economic factors attracting tourists and visitors.

As part of the festival, we engaged Shannon Keane of Zest International to work with the students of Gulargambone Central School to work on a collective ‘Paint by Numbers’ activity. The old Butchers shop as it is known to locals, was the canvas, positioned at the end of the mains street. Shannon created a quirky and colourful collection of animals transforming the shop’s corrugated iron fence running along Bourbah Street and down the western side of Jean Walker Park. Shannon outlined the design on the fence with spray paint, and the kids filled in the design, bringing the animals to life. They learnt about colour, composition, painting techniques and a bit about life as a professional artist in the industry.

Education and youth participation is important and central to our festival. Working and learning with professional artists is amazing for kids living in this remote rural area and allowing them a space to feel the joy from art is very powerful.

The 2019 festival launch party attracted huge crowds with opportunity to chat with the artists and explore their installations. The launch also included live painting with visiting artist Sam Brooks, market stalls, live music, food vans, workshops and demonstrations.

This project was funded by Create NSW, Regional Arts NSW, Country Arts Support Program (CASP) 2021, Outback Arts, Dubbo City and Gilgandra Toyota, Essential Energy, Inland Petroleum, Nutrien, AMPS and Gulargambone Co-op.